Tungsten-Filled 10 Oz Gold Bar Found In The Middle Of Manhattan's Jewelry District

Tyler Durden's picture

It is one thing for tungsten-filled gold bars to appear in the UK, or in Germany: after all out of sight, and across the Atlantic, certainly must mean out of mind, and out of the safe. However, when a 10 ounce 999.9 gold bar bearing the stamp of the reputable Swiss Produits Artistiques Métaux Précieux (PAMP, with owner MTP) and a serial number (serial #038892, likely rehypothecated in at least 10 gold ETFs across the world but that's a different story), mysteriously emerges in the heart of the world's jewerly district located on 47th street in Manhattan, things get real quick. Moments ago, Myfoxny reported that a 10-ounce gold bar costing nearly $18,000 turned out to be a counterfeit. The discovery was made by the dealer Ibrahim Fadl, who bought the PAMP bar in question from a merchant who has sold him real gold before. "But he heard counterfeit gold bars were going around, so he drilled into several of his gold bars worth $100,000 and saw gray tungsten -- not gold. The bar was filled with tungsten, which weighs nearly the same as gold but costs just over a dollar an ounce."

What makes so devious is a real gold bar is purchased with the serial numbers and papers, then it is hollowed out, the gold is sold, the tungsten is put in, then the bar is closed up. That is a sophisticated operation.


MTB, the Swiss manufacturer of the gold bars, said customers should only buy from a reputable merchant. The problem, he admits, is Ibrahim Fadl is a very reputable merchant.


Raymond Nessim, CEO Manfra, Tordell & Brookes, said he has reported the situation to the FBI and Secret Service.


The Secret Service, which deals with counterfeits, said it is investigating.

And cue panic on the realization that virtually any gold bar in the world, not just those in Europe and Australia, which have already had close encounters with Tungsten substitutes, but also New York may be hollowed out and have a real worth of a few dollars max. Which, sadly, is fitting considering our main story from last night was the realization that an unknown amount of Chinese iron ore had either never existed or had simply vaporized, and was no longer serving as the secured collateral to various liabilities circulating in the electronic ether. After all, only the most naive out there could conceive of gold being sacrosanct when every other asset class is being diluted to infinity by a regime that has long since run out of money.

As for gold-based transactions on West 47th street: look for that market to grind to a halt at least for as long as it takes for this scandal to be forgotten too.

The only open question remaining will be how much of the gold located 90 feet below Libert 33 is in the same Tungstenized format. For what it's worth: it is unlikely we will ever find out.

This is what glaring gold counterfeiting looks like.

And for the reading challenged:

New York News | NYC Breaking News

All that said, with false flags rampant these days, we would not be surprised if this is merely yet another attempt to discredit gold, this time physical, as an undilutable medium of warehousing wealth. So buyer beware: in a time when everyone is broke, triple check before exchanging one store of wealth for another.

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wee-weed up's picture

Alpo for Granny

Yep! I remember them well... came in a little net bag with a label something like, "Pirate's Treasure!"

El Oregonian's picture

Reminds me of those gold-foiled chocolate coins we'd get for Holloween. Trick or Treat!

Silver Bars will be next. X-Ray time.

icanhasbailout's picture

Does silver have a tungsten equivalent (cheap replacement with nearly the same density)? I don't think it does, which would make silver a safer bet than gold. Also the returns on counterfeit silver would be far below that of counterfeit gold, so the incentives to cheat in the silver market would be correspondingly lower.

YuShun's picture

While the incentives to cheat may be lower, some "silver" coins can be picked up with a magnet.
I'd like to post a photo.

icanhasbailout's picture

that's why you weigh them and measure volume to determine density and derive composition


The tungsten/gold problem is that the density is extremely similar, so much so that tungsten can successfully pass itself off as gold to several decimal places. If there's nothing you can do the same with regarding silver (and I don't believe there is, and even if it were it would be far less profitable to counterfeit), then silver becomes the superior store of value. It may tarnish, unlike gold which doesn't, but if it is that much easier to show it is real, it functions better overall for the purpose of wealth protection.

TraitorsHang's picture

I agree with your estimate of the profitability in small volumes. As an academic exercise...
One could make an excellent silver counterfeit if great care were taken to choose an alloy that matched the density. It would likely be some alloy of lead, which has a density 11.34 g/ml (vs Ag's 10.49). A large bar fashioned in this way could be made difficult to detect by any mechanism other than drilling it.

If lead were the dominant metal, the alloy might have a lower melting point that Ag. If so, you could heat it while spinning it with a constant force and monitoring the speed to detect the apparent change in momentum caused by the sudden phase-change of the core melting.

Au: 19.30 g/ml
W: 19.25 g/ml

W is 99.7% the density of Au.

So assuming the volume of the conterfeit bar and the real bar are the same, that means a 10 toz bar would be 0.03 troy oz light.

disabledvet's picture

the fact still remains it got buy a gold dealer in the heart of Manhattan. Great story ZH...BIG deal...and BIG problem if even another one of these shows up...let alone hundreds or even thousands.

stacking12321's picture

here is a list of elements and their specific gravities:


you have gold at 19.32 and tungsten at 19.30, almost an exact match, and not much else is in that 19+ range except for plutonium which is radioactive and hard to get, so tungsten is really the only practical substitute in fake gold.

with silver at 10.50, you can substitle iron (7.89) and lead (11.35) in the correct ratio to mimic the density of silver, that is easily done.




Henry Hub's picture

***you can substitle iron (7.89) and lead (11.35)***

So that's the reason my silver coins are rusty!!

Taint Boil's picture



…so he drilled into several of his gold bars worth $100,000

The story is bullshit or the guy is an idiot. If the guy is an idiot it is probably the reason he ended up with the fake gold bars. There is no way that the bars were “drilled out” and then “filled” … it was made that way from day one.

CPL's picture

They were first sighted in Australia about two years ago filled with Chinese junk metal. About five seconds later the government shut up really fast and hushed the media.


It is still talked about with quite a bit of venom on the Australian blogs, only place you'll find it.  All those people took delivery for their security and were handed a pound of lead.


It either means the government licked the center out of the oreo cookie, or the chinese swapped steel contract for real gold and delivered back the "gold" on request.  Either way...my bet is on China buying up lots of gold since the shitstorm began


Largest gold and silver theft in the history of mankind.  He with the gold rules still applies in every point of history that gets remembered, written down and socked away for later reference.


What is a bond worth if your adversary has all the equity.  Then again, what is the equity worth if not distributed, trade is anything but fungible and gravitates towards the path of least resistance.  egg/chicken time or is it chicken/egg time...


nmewn's picture

Just get out of fiat paper for G&S coins (actual money) for crying out loud...let the big boys keep the tungsten in their vaults.


Dr Benway's picture

Thanks for the clarification. I had never even heard of that Australian story?! Do you happen to have a link to a source? Was it as sophisticated as this counterfeiting?

knukles's picture

So Sorry Doc, but many of us really loath it when folks ask for links.
You got a computer and web access we see....

So try Goggling it yourself...aka do your own fucking research.

Or do you listen to the likes of the MFGlobals, Rodman & Renshaws and Madoff & Cos., too?

Dr Benway's picture

Look, if it's a widely available article or piece of information, I agree google is the way. If it's something more obscure a link can be helpful. Besides, I wasn't really addressing you, mmkay?

knukles's picture

Then quit talkin' in public...

IndicaTive's picture

" I agree google is the way"

You must have posted before googling. I just read all about it.

Dr Benway's picture

Really, now? What, pray tell, were your search terms to make that story appear prominently on google?


I tried to be polite here. It was obviously pointless. You and your polesmoking friend can fuck off now.

Deo vindice's picture

Doc, ZH is known for many things. Politeness as a prerequisite for posting definitely ain't one of them. I quickly learned to read and keep my questions to myself and hope they get answered by someone else's post.  It usually has worked for me.

TraitorsHang's picture

Don't take any shit, Doc. Skepticism is always a risk. We all have bad days.

pufferfish's picture

I see this board as the like minded sharing information. That isn't necessarily what google is about. In fact google have been known to hide things. 


I have enjoyed & been enlightened by The Dr & Knuckles. I see you both as informed gentleman. Please, keep it classy.

matrix2012's picture

may not exactly what you seek for but Perth Mint Bullion blog runs a story "Fake Bars - The facts" March 2012



whats so hard to just provide a link here to ZHers if one really has it ???  eeek



"In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value." - (young) Alan Greenspan

James's picture

matrx2012, If you had asked they'd trip all over themselves w/@ least a dozen links!

So would I.

matrix2012's picture

thx James but pls donot flatter me :-) this is pertaining to Dr Benway's request

James's picture

Yes, I don't know why Knuckles responded that way.

He's usually friendly.

Dr Benway's picture

Hi, thanks matrix, appreciate the thought but that's not the story in question... :(

CPL's picture

O'Callaghans tungsten deposit near its flagship Telfer gold mine in Western Australia.  You got chocolate in my peanute butter...fuck no, you dipped your tungsten in my gold pot.  

2008-2010 : It was the equivalent of the Aussie BreX...now it's looking like it'll get a lot bigger.  Again, lots of bloger blogs with the reference material.   But the mine names and the timeline should jog your memory.  It was big international press, then it just vanished as soon as the word BreX slipped from someones lips.

Yeah..a lot bigger, theives operate on greed not on sense...if people are passing the buck on this nonsense across ocean's over eBay and through direct banking channels.  Well...it's time for people to double check their stacks.  Not kidding either.


It means REAL gold and silver is going much higher versus the lead pieces being handed out.  


When doing the search turn ON private browsing, google news doesn't apply country filters and shows all articles regardless of country on the subject.  

matrix2012's picture

"When doing the search turn ON private browsing, google news doesn't apply country filters and shows all articles regardless of country on the subject."


Or try to use OTHER interfaces instead

- Startpage Search Engine - it does NOT record your IP address !   https://startpage.com/  or its sibling: https://ixquick.com/


- Uncensored Anonymous Search Engine - http://gibiru.com/index.php/home

Gibiru - "Promoting a Free Uncensored Internet"


Recently, the NSA has had major publishers remove "Alternative News" sites from search results that contain content on on the War in Iraq, Afghanistan and even Iran, US diplomatic and political scandals (like Wikileaks notorious cables), UFOs, even astro physics. Unfortunately, the government , major publishers and search engines are forced to work closely to chill Internet discourse. America OnLine, Microsoft, Yahoo and others are slowly turning the Internet into an information superhighway dominated by barricades, toll booths, off-ramps that lead to dead ends and track you everywhere. This censorship is accomplished by geo-location filtering: the restriction or modifying of web content based on the geographical region of the user. In addition to countries, such filtering can now be implemented for states, cities, and even individual IP addresses.

Anonymity and Private Browsing

Gibiru Offers Users Private Browsing of Uncensored Seach Results. Gibiru is presently based on modified Google Search algorithm that limits tracking of your internet behavior and privacy thus removing behavioral search result filtering and censoring so that you get natural untargeted search results. Gibiru offers different levels of privacy depending on the browser that you use. The following table explains the difference in Privacy a Gibiru user can expect depending on the browser you are using. For Maximum Privacy Gibiru recommends Safari or IE. Protect Your Browsing Freedom and Internt Freedom and Set Gibiru as your Homepage.

Gibiru HTTPS: 

Gibiru now offers HTTPS 128 bit encrypted search, for those who are especially concerned about third party snoopers.  the 128 bit https encryption allows Gibiru users to search the web anonymously and under the same level on encryption that most online stores and banks use to protect user's provacy.  To execute https encrypted search, simply click on the https link at the top of the Gibiru home page and you will be redirected to https://anonymous-gibiru.com/

Gibiru Privacy Capabilities by Browser type

Gibiru now only supports Firefox for HTTPS 128 bit encrypted web browsing.




"Big Brother is watching you." -- George Orwell, English Novelist and Essayist, 1903-1950

CPL's picture

There is a secure Chromium coming out from the latest branch development that is being jogged into place to natively use Gibiru as the search engine.  Only for linux though.


Gibiru is a decent search engine the problem is it still has to pass information, plus the idea it's not sponsored by anything may make the project short lived.  ixquick is the fall back if it vanishes online.


For security though, personal tracking, most modern laptops have TPM to act as a hardware agent in encrypting hard drives, anything after 2009 to give a timeline.  TPM is also used as a beacon to locate stolen or missing laptops.


It is also one of the weakest sentries on the planet because it's hardware and rarely gets updated because entrust as a security platform has been considered useless in the Engineering IT community.  So be aware, newer laptops, doesn't matter what part of the planet you are in someone can find you by cell or laptop.


Of course, only if you register it for support.  That's why people should support their local techies, we might be weirdo's, but you'll find a common thread is we've all got a beef with someone peering in on our work until it's finished.  There are fixes to cripple TPM, but you'll never hear about it from Dell, Apple, HP or Acer.

Alternative is install an Old OS before the Patriot Act extensions that has no clue about a monitored universe.  It also improves network speed without messy, poorly coded overhead.

matrix2012's picture

thanks CPL, i do appreciate your exposition on the TPM things! Not sure if the Old OS includes the old XP :D


SafelyGraze's picture

don't blame the tungstenizers

they are addressing a very real problem: there just isn't enough gold to meet the demand for pamp suisse bars

which is why the bars must be made of other materials beneath the cladding

the G20 nations must agree to value tungsten and gold equally.

these changes are necessary for a very simple reason--gold is a scarce material. Our uses of gold are growing as our population and our economy grows. So, in the face of this worldwide shortage of gold, and our rapidly growing need for bars, the only really prudent course is to reduce our dependence upon gold for making our bars.

Our existing gold bars won't disappear and they won't even become rarities. We estimate that there are now 12 billion--I repeat, more than 12 billion gold bars that are now outstanding. We will make another billion before we halt production. And they will be used side-by-side with the new tungsten bars.

If anybody has any idea of hoarding gold bars, let me say this. The IMF, the central banks, the commodity warehouses, the bullion banks, the various mines, and the governments of the world have a lot of gold on hand. A shit ton of gold. Plus, there is a hundred-fold more imaginary gold available through various paper products and rehypothecation. All of it can be, and it will be used, together with innovative new legislation, to keep the price of gold in line with its value in our present gold bars. There will be no profit in holding them out of circulation for the value of their gold content.

matrix2012's picture


You make a good point SafelyGraze, gold is really rare for its duly reasons!


Why Gold Is So Rare

"UNLIKE diamonds or gem stones, which are produced under the Earth by extreme pressures and heat, gold is a NON-TERRESTRIAL metal, meaning that all the gold that exists today, above and below ground, is all there ever will be. Gold is not produced by the geology of the Earth; in fact, Gold doesn’t even originate from this solar system. All the gold that exists on Earth today arrived many billions of years ago during the early period of Earth’s formation. Gold is a heavy element with an atomic number of 79. As with other elements heavier that iron, gold was created in the far reaches of space in some of the most violent events in the universe – supernovas."

More at here

There are indeed some factual reasons why gold is famously nicked as the BARBAROUS RELIC :-)> LOL



"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." -- Arthur Schopenhauer, 19th-century philosopher

Peter Pan's picture

Dear safelygraze, with your kind of thinking we should allow food manufacturers to add any other materials needed in manufacturing food items when they run short of the right ingredients. The use of melamine in powdered milk by the Chinese comes to mind.

There is more than enough gold for our financial system. The problem is that gold does not accommodate profligate governments that wish to spend more than they collect.

In the case of melamine use by the Chinese, the government at least had the decency to shoot the perpetrators. In the USA the government will never shoot the counterfeiters of the currency because they ARE in fact the counterfeiters.

SafelyGraze's picture

the post was quoting president johnson, when he signed the coinage act to replace silver coins with the clad ones.

I substituted "gold" for "silver" and "bar" for "coin"

the link in the spoiler takes you to the text of his signing statement.

by the same presidential logic that declared nickel-clad copper (in the form of coins) "the same value as" silver, gold-clad tungsten would logically be "the same value as" gold. by fiat. "because it is so rare".

ArrestBobRubin's picture

Easy one Turd: "it's bearish for gold" :-)


Eternal Complainer's picture

And then ultra- bullish for silver by default

ArrestBobRubin's picture

I can live with that Baphy. I hide my 10 oz Ag bars under my puppet's top hat. Don't tell anyone!

Dr Benway's picture

Can be done on bigger silver bars too. There was an episode of Pawn Stars when a guy comes in with a $100K in silver, including a brick that Rick drills to make sure. So it must be true.

I Am The Unknown Comic's picture

Aha!  So, NOW I understand what the trolls mean when they say "it only costs a few dollars to dig it out of the ground!"  Gosh, it took me long enough to figure that one out didn't it?

francis_sawyer's picture

As everybody knows... There is always only one cockroach...

HoofHearted's picture

And his name is John Nadler (or Ben Bernanke or Paul Krugman. Woops...I just took a Krugman before getting off of the toilet. Forget the last one.)

smlbizman's picture

man, who would want to create doubt about the authenticity of the gold people are buying...hmmm...plus it looks like it took above average skill with above average equipment....watch how it is covered...if it is a major repeated story we will know more about our conterfeiter is....

Freebird's picture

Yeh & Pamp cater to the retail with full range of entry level product - this one to scare the bejesus out of the masses

jackinrichmond's picture

yeah, something about this story doesn't pass the smell test..

this story stinks like a dead rat.

PaperWillBurn's picture

Very strange place to drill. The side with a smaller drill bit would make a lot more sense? Especially when it's on "suspected" that their maybe be tungsten in some of his bars. How many did he "destroy" in that manner prior to finding one?

Sheeple Shepard's picture

Its always good to be suspicious of these kind of story's, especially with how much is at stake in the world at the moment, but if this guy is a large dealer it wouldn't be that unusual for a large proportion of his inventory to be sent off to be melted down and made into jewellery to increase his profit margins. Drilling into several bars in such a case would not result in any real loss of value.

Papasmurf's picture

You can not drill tungsten with a regular drill bit.  Just pointing a tungsten rod for TIG welding requires a grinding wheel.

JimBowie1958's picture

There are all kinds of tungsten amalgamates sold for pine wood derby cars, to get the car as close to weight limit as possible. That tungsten looks a lot like what this guy claims to have found as it is soft and maleable.

All the same, remember that old stereotype of a gold prospecter biting the gold coin to make sure its real?

That practice might start making a comeback now days.

Diplodicus Rex's picture

This story stinks. Look at the construciton of that bar. No way on earth it was "hollowed out". The Tungsten was put in the mould before the gold was poured around it. This was made by the people who normally cast the bars. Inside job. Propaganda.